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Raclette Cheese with Caraway Pickled Vegetables

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

For the Pickled Vegetables:
3 small rutabagas, peeled and cut in wedges (about 1 1/2-inch high by 1-inch thick)
3 small turnips, peeled and cut in wedges (about 1 1/2-inch high by 1-inch thick)
6 small carrots, about 4 inches in length, peeled, cut in quarters from top to tip
3 parsnips, about 6 inches in length, peeled, cut vertically in quarters from top to tip, then cut each quarter in half to yield 3-inch pieces
12 small onions, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut in quarters with core remaining intact so wedges do not fall apart
3 small beets
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the Caraway Marinade:
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
2 bunches dill, cleaned and chopped with stems
5 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons kosher salt

6 slices Wisconsin raclette cheese, cut about 5x3x1/2-inches (each slice should fit bottom of small individual gratin dishes)
Additional fresh caraway or dill for garnish

Cooking Directions:

Vegetables:

Blanch each vegetable (except beets) in boiling salted water until crisp tender. Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash beets and trim away greens; coat with 1 teaspoon oil; wrap in foil and cook 25 to 30 minutes, until knife pierced inside slips out easily. Remove and cool; peel beets and cut into wedges the same size as rutabaga and turnips.

Place rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, turnips and onions in a plastic container with a cover. Place beets in a separate plastic container with a cover.

Marinade:

Toast caraway seeds and peppercorns in a dry sauté pan over medium heat about one minute. Place in spice grinder and pulse 2 to 3 times to coarsely grind. Place on a triple thickness of cheesecloth along with the bay leaves and the dill. Tie with a string into a sachet. Place in a large pot with water, sugar, vinegar and kosher salt and bring to a boil.

Pour enough marinade over beets to cover and pour remaining marinade over the rest of vegetables to cover; discard sachet. Cover vegetables, place in refrigerator and let marinade at least one to two days before using.

Final Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place one slice of raclette in the bottom of six individual gratin dishes to cover entire bottom (dishes should be about 3x6 inches). Place in oven until cheese is hot, molten and just starting to bubble on the outside, do not let boil; about 6 to 8 minutes.

While cheese is in oven, remove vegetables from marinade with a slotted spoon and drain. Combine beats and mixed vegetables. As cheese comes out of oven, place 1/6 of vegetables on top of cheese and garnish with either fresh caraway or fresh chopped dill. Sprinkle a bit of toasted caraway over all.

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